Multidisciplinary Approaches to Plants and Religion : Inaugural Conference, December 15-17, 2011 ( Conference Program )


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Multidisciplinary Approaches to Plants and Religion : Inaugural Conference, December 15-17, 2011 ( Conference Program )
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Conference Program
Working Group on Plants and Religion
Working Group on Plants and Religion
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Gainesville, FL
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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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WE ARE VERY PLEASED TO WELCOME THE PUBLIC TO OUR SYMPOSIUM. THERE IS NO FIXED REGISTRATION FEE TO THE CONFERENCE BUT WE WILL GRATEFULLY ACCEPT DONATIONS OF $25 OR MORE TO DEFRAY THE COSTS OF THE EVENT. THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA THE WORKING GROUP ON PLANTS AND RELIGION Inaugural Conference december 15-17 2011 Multidisciplinary Approaches to Plants and Religion Anderson Hall 216 Schedule of Events Thursday, December 15th 9:00am Conference Welcome 9:30am Healing Plants ~12:30pm Lunch~ 1:30pm Movements and Destinations 3:30pm Plants, Cosmology and Art 4:30pm Keynote Address ~6:30pm~ Presenters Reception Friday, December 16th 10:00am Environmentalism and Ethnobotany 11:30am Intermission 12:00pm The Religious Nature of Plants:Plants in Agriculture, Medicine and Astrology ~2:00pm Lunch~ 3:00pm Political and Legal Intersections of Plants and Religion 5:00 A Presentation of Films on Plants and Religion Saturday, December 17th 10:00am Open Discussion Plenary Assembly


MULTIDISCIPLINARY APPROACHES TO PLANTS AND RELIGION Page 2 Principal Presenters and Participants Beatriz Caiuby Labate ( ) is a PhD in Social Anthropology from the Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp), Campinas, Brazil. Her main areas of interest are the study of psychoactive substances, drug policies, shamanism, ritual, and religion. Currently she is a Research Associate at the Institute of Medical Psychology, Heidelberg University and a member of the Collaborative Research Center (SFB 619) "Ritual Dynamics Socio-Cultural Processes from a Historical and Culturally Comparative Perspective." She is also researcher with the Nucleus for Interdisciplinary Studies of Psychoactives (NEIP) and editor of its site ( ). She is author, coauthor and co-editor of seven books, two with English translations, and one journal special edition. Her book A Reinven‹o do Uso da Ayahuasca nos Centros Urbanos (Mercado de Letras, 2004) received the prize for Best Master's Thesis in Social Sciences from the National Association for Graduate Studies in Social Science (ANPOCS) in 2000. Edward MacRae Federal University of Bahia, Brazil Edward MacRae lectures in anthropology at the Federal University of Bahia. Since 1986, he has researched the topic of drugs, initially working for the Institute of Social Medicine and Criminology of the state of Sao Paulo IMESC and in the Program for Orietation and Attendance of drug-dependencies. He was a member of the sao Paulo State Narcotics Council. He is currently living in Salvador where he teaches anthropology at the Federal University of Bahia, and is a researcher associated to the Center for Drug Abuse Studies and Therapy (CETAD) There, he teaches post-graduate courses on topics related to the social an anthropology of drugs. He is currently a representative of the Ministry of culture and on the National AntiDrugs Council CONAD and member of the Scientic-Technical Advisory Council of the CONAD. He has written about sexuality, social movements, the ritual use of ayahuasca in the Santo Daime religion, socially integrated use of psychoactive substances, and the reduction of harm associated with drug use. Benjamin Hebblethwaite Assistant Professor in Haitian Creole, Haitian & Francophone Studies, University of Florida, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. He will be speaking on "The Uses of Plants, Drugs and Alcohol in Haitian Vodou". Bron Taylor Professor of Religion & Nature | University of Florida. Editor, Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture See the Religion & Nature project website for information about the journal, the Encyclopedia of Religion & Nature and the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture Whitney Sanford Associate Professor, Department of Religion, University of Florida. Dr. Sanford obtained her M.A., and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. She teaches and researches two main areas: Religion and Nature, and Religions of Asia. She focuses on environmental movements of the global South and religious attitudes towards agricultural sustainability. She will discuss her recent book Growing Stories from India: Religion and the Fate of Agriculture. Robin M. Wright Associate Professor of Religion, Ph.D. Stanford University Indigenous Religions, Amerindian Religions of South America, Anthropology of Religion. Has worked with South American shamans since the 1970s and written recently an entire book about their practice and knowledge. Has been a long-time supporter of research into psychoactive substances in plants and, like his brother Christopher, suffers from a genetically inherited bone disease. Christopher A. Wright Scholar of Religions, and Professional Photographer. He obtained his M.A. in Religion at Hartford Seminary; and did his doctoral thesis research on Mesoamerican Art of the sacred, at University of Montreal. The bearer of a rare, genetic disease that affects all weight-bearing joints, Dr. Wright has been a long-time advocate of the use of cannabis sativa for medicinal purposes. Todd Swanson Professor of Religious Studies at Arizona State University; Grew up in a Kichwa Indian community in the highlands of Ecuador. Director of Summer Fieldschool in Ecuadorean Amazon. Has realized many years of studies of ethnobotany and native relations to plants, not exclusively to ayahuasca. Ellison Banks Findly Professor, Department of Religion and Asian Studies, Trinity College, Hartford, CT. Dr. Findly obtained her M.A. from Columbia University, M.Phil., and Ph.D., from Yale University. Her areas of research include the religious history of Hinduism and Buddhism (texts and art) and contemporary Gandhian thought in India. She is currently working on Southeast Asian religious textiles (Lao-Tai). A prolic scholar, she will discuss one of her books, Plant Lives: Boderline Beings in Indian Tradition.


MULTIDISCIPLINARY APPROACHES TO PLANTS AND RELIGION Page 3 Presenters and Participants Special Guests William Vickers retired Professor of Anthropology & Ecology, Ecuadorian Amazon. Bob Linde herbalist, Acupuncture Physician and Registered Herbalist(AHG), president and founder of Acupuncture & Herbal Therapies. Andrew Tarter Ph.D. student, assistant to Dr. Hebblethwaite; Haitian Vodu Jaya Reddy Ph. D. student, Department of Religion, University of Florida. Jaya's research focuses on the use of plants in religion, medicine, and astrology in India. Marissa Molinar M.A. in Comparative Art & Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, University College London. Her research interests include rock art, prehistoric art and evolutionary approaches in archaeology. Lucas Moreira M.A. student in Religion at UF. Studies in Public policy and legislation on psychoactives. James Taylor M.A. student at Center for Latin American Studies, UF, trajectories and destinations of plants; field-school course on the Napo river, Ecuadorean Amazon; Our Generous Collaborators The Department of Religion, Ofce of the Dean of CLAS, The Center for Latin American Studies, The Department of Anthropology, The Center for the Humanities and Public Policy and Private Donors Special Thanks To: Dr. Beatriz Labate, Founder & Coordinator of the NEIP (Center for Studies and Research on Psychoactives) Brazil Dr. Edward MacRae Professor of Anthropology, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brazil


MULTIDISCIPLINARY APPROACHES TO PLANTS AND RELIGION Page 4 THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA THE WORKING GROUP ON PLANTS AND RELIGION About the Symposium "Plants and Religion" is a diverse area of study, and one that is in need of a dedicated group of scholars looking at the commonalities and di erences of human plant relationships in ritual and religious contexts. The establishment of the Working Group on Plants and Religion is a step toward lling that gap. As a method of generating scholarship and research that will make a solid contribution to this goal. The Working Group is holding a small symposium of leading national and international scholars on psychoactive plants and religion. The Working Group feels that a discussion of psychoactive plants and their ritual and religious uses is a pressing issue, both in the academic sphere of social sciences and in public policy. Psychoactive plant use is embroiled in an ongoing global, hemispheric, national, and regional, discussion concerning drug and chemical use and abuse. At the heart of this broad topic is a debate about public safety and health and an urge to both minimize harm caused by substances while maximizing the benets of substances that are deemed su # ciently safe and necessary. All too often, this debate has revolved solely around medicinal and substance abuse contexts. While religious and ritual substance use may not be as prevalent as substance use in other contexts $ such as medical or recreational % it is nevertheless a critical piece of the overall picture. This situation has led to an overly generalized perspective on substance use from the perspective of policy makers that has largely excluded ritual and religious use of psychoactives from consideration. OUR OBJECTIVES To serve as a forum for research and the organization of public events on the theme of th interaction between human plan # relationships and religion. A multi disciplinary approach covering the fields of Anthropology of Religion, Psychobiology, Ethnobotany, History of Culture, Medicine, and Law. To organize and maintain a $ ebsite dedicated to the research objectives that will serve to attract new contributors and to facilitate the interaction of researchers. To host a regular seminar series, inviting well known professionals to present their work or new perspectives on the research area as a whole. To host both conferences and symposiums involving both international and nationally known researchers.